BLACKHAT || January 16th, 2015

Blackhat-poster Michael Mann does very little for me as a director anymore. His foray into “Miami Vice” and “Public Enemies” were huge misses and “blackhat” does not look much better. Putting Chris Hemsworth in the role of criminal computer hacker enlisted by the government to stop a terrorism plot is a far stretch from the buffed out character he plays as Thor and not to say he cannot escape that role, but Mann does not have the wherewithal to produce a Hemsworth we like outside that role. Ron Howard did it with “Rush,” but “blackhat” looks long, drab, and uninspired.
Paddington-poster2 Perhaps its the “Shining” spoof that’s run rampant on the internet featuring the title character, but there is something creeping me out about “Paddington”. It could also have something to do with the British factor, to which I am not a huge fan of when it comes to comedy, but there is nothing about the well-reviewed talking bear movie that has me wanting to see it. In this particular adventure, Paddington finds himself searching for a home. When he does, the only thing holding him back is his clumsiness, as apparent from the trailer where he destroys his host family’s bathroom and a museum taxidermist that wants his hide.
SpareParts-poster As uplifting as “Spare Parts” looks, I feel like there are only so many based on a true story films about teachers and low income high school students banding together to do the impossible that I can take. Sure, that makes me sound heartless, but give me something other than this same old story. The down-and-out teacher that decides to step up in this particular feature is played by comic George Lopez. His love interest is Marisa Tomei and the aspiring students are young Hispanic boys that want to enter a technology contest against the best tech schools in the country. If I want to know how this one ends, I’ll look it up in the paper.
TheWeddingRinger-poster Kevin Hart is his own genre of movie. The extremely short and fast-talking comedian finds himself driving his latest feature, “The Wedding Ringer,” which will definitely not be doing as well as “Ride Along” did the same time last year. At least Ice Cube, who is as equally famous, co-star with Hart in that one, and the premise for “Ride Along” was much more approachable. “Ringer”… not so much. Hart plays a best man for hire who keeps a distance emotionally from all his clients. But when he meets Josh Gad’s pathetic character who not only needs a best man but an entire wedding party, Hart pulls out all the stops to try and help out. With no huge moments of hilarity, “Ringer” is one of those forgettable comedies that would have gone straight to DVD had it not been for Kevin Hart making it his own.

AppropriateBehavior-poster Even before a reference is made in the trailer, “Appropriate Behavior” and its lead Desiree Akhavan have the feel of Woody Allen’s dry, dark comedic sense. Written, directed, and starring Desiree, she plays a Persian woman living in New York City, attempting to be accepted by her “perfect” family all while delving into her bisexuality with another woman. Where the problem lies is that Woody Allen took years to perfect his craft and delve out an “Annie Hall” while Desiree takes a nice step in the right direction, she still feels years away from her peak. The film lands somewhere along the lines of Jenny Slate’s feature from last year, “Obvious Child,” which also highlighted an awkward female willing to speak her unadulterated mind.
EscobarParadiseLost-poster As much as I do not care for actor Josh Hutcherson (“The Hunger Games”) his latest film, “Escobar: Paradise Lost” has me intrigued. But not because of him. Mostly because of Benicio Del Toro playing the title character, Pablo Escobar. Hutcherson plays a young traveling surfer that falls for Escobar’s niece (Claudia Traisac), but when he attempts to join the family, he learns the price to pay may be way more life-threatening than he can imagine. The film has strong “Godfather” undertones and looks to have a strong, resonating performance from Del Toro.
HumanCapital-poster2 The whodunnit aspect of the Italian film “Human Capital” is what eventually drew me in. Filled with tension, mystery, and sex, through the course of the trailer, I found myself being slowly persuaded to see this film. Based on an American novel of the same title, the film apparently opens with an incident that happens at the end of the story, in which a cyclist is run off the road by an SUV the night before Christmas Eve. Depicting many different economical classes, the film ventures through the days leading up to the event to let the audience piece together who might have perpetrated the crime.
JoyOfMansDesiring-poster Not to be completely ignorant of artistic merit, but the trailer for the “Joy Of Man’s Desiring” documentary is the equivalence of watching paint dry. The camera is aimed at workers on a factory floor, and at least for the trailer, they stand and either stare at the camera or stare off into the distance. Said to include real life people working and actors, there is something so self-serving about depicting this imagery, that I cannot imagine sitting through this entire film. But I do understand that some art is not for everyone and this film just happens to be one that is not for me.
LittleAccidents-poster Following a mining accident that leaves one survivor, a small community reels with yet another loss when a young boy goes missing in the woods. “Little Accidents” feels like it should be a gritty and emotional David Gordon Green Indie, but instead comes off just slightly over-produced. But nonetheless, Elizabeth Banks takes a step away from the big Hollywood films and gives a worthwhile performance here alongside Boyd Holbrook (“The Skeleton Twins”), Chloe Sevingy, and Josh Lucas.
LoiteringWithIntent-poster Written by the two leading men, Michael Godere and Ivan Martin, “Loitering With Intent” sees them retreating to a house in the woods to write a screenplay in less than two weeks for a sudden opportunity given to them by their friend Kaplan (Natasha Lyonne). Once they get there, however, they realize they will not be alone as more and more people keeping showing up, including the gorgeous Marisa Tomei and the mega-talented Sam Rockwell.
Match-poster Seeing Patrick Stewart outside of his science fiction roles in the “Star Trek” series and lately in “X-Men” as Professor Xavier is, although pleasant, rather jarring in terms of wrapping your head around how he’s been typecast all of these years. There is no doubt Stewart can handle himself in a dramatic role and “Match” does set out to prove that, but to me it feels like he’s on stage rather than in a feature film, opposite two fellow actors stepping out of their typecasts as well with Carla Gugino and Matthew Lillard.
ThePhoenixProject-poster One thing becomes pretty clear from watching the trailer for the directorial debut of Tyler Graham Pavey entitled “The Phoenix Project,” he has to have seen Shane Caruth’s independent science fiction film “Primer”. Both have a group of friends who come together to do science experiments in their garage, both feature these men wearing white shirts and ties, and having conversations away from one another. While in “Primer” they discover time travel, in “Phoenix” they are dealing with reanimation and the fallout. If Pavey hasn’t seen “Primer” then this one of the biggest coincidences in cinema.
SonOfAGun-poster Ewan McGregor steps out of his romantic comedy funk to deliver in this action crime drama about a young man becoming the apprentice to one of the biggest criminals in Australia. Brenton Thwaites (“Oculus”, “The Giver”) stars in the directorial feature debut of Julius Avery, learning the hard way that you cannot trust anyone. Not only is McGregor a huge selling point, but the young and gorgeous actress Alicia Vikander plays the love interest, and for that, there are enough draws to get me intrigued.
StillIfe-poster Eddie Marsan is a great character actor but when it comes to playing the awkward love interest, I am not sure I buy it. In “Still Life,” he is being let go from his job as a council case worker. During his final case, he meets a young woman whose father has just passed away and in consoling her, he appears to be become interested. But there is simply so much awkwardness one can take when it comes to independent films like this and sorry to say, Eddie Marsan simply does not pull it off for me.
ThreeNightStand-poster Emmanuelle Chriqui is so incredibly beautiful and talented and she deserves way more than “Three Night Stand,” a crappy romantic comedy about newlyweds that head to a ski resort for their late honeymoon, only for the husband to run into one of his ex-girlfriends that he still has feelings for. To make things even trickier, a famous actor his taking his wife’s eye off him as well. Sam Huntington (“Detroit Rock City”) stars lead, but this film lacks a little production value and any sort of creativity.
Vice-poster “Vice” is all over the place with stealing ideas from previous films. A little bit “The Island,” a little bit “I,Robot,” a little bit “Total Recall,” the film is set in a future where a facility called Vice allows you to do whatever you want inside, including murder. The catch is you’re doing it to artificial intelligent robots that look like humans and that can be reset. But when one escapes, the race is on to stop it before the public finds out. Bruce Willis and Thomas Jane take a huge step down from the trajectory of their careers and deliver this mid-level, independent action film with no legs.


  • The Wedding Ringer



  • Son Of A Gun


  • Little Accidents


  • blackhat
  • Escobar: Paradise Lost
  • Human Capital
  • Loitering With Intent


  • Appropriate Behavior
  • Joy Of Man’s Desiring
  • Match
  • Paddington
  • Phoenix Project, The
  • Spare Parts
  • Still Life
  • Three Night Stand
  • Vice


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